Close Calls: Part 1 of 3

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Going home was just what I needed. After two weeks of visiting family and friends and hitting up all my favorite spots, I’m feeling totally recharged and ready for another half year of world wandering.

My last night out at home was spent in a time warp in Boston. I went with some friends to see an old band reunited and playing for a crowd full of late twenty-something’s hanging onto their youth. The interior of the rented out church was a humid hell of 130 degrees, but the sweat soaked sing-along’s made it a good time. At around 11pm, my best friend Eric and I headed back to Rhode Island.


The next morning I received a wake-up call from my Dad informing me we’d have to leave early for the airport seeing as the Boston tunnel was closed. Evidently at around 11pm the night prior, a thirty ton block of cement fell from the ceiling, crushing a car and killing the thirty eight year old woman driving it. Seeing as Eric and I were in the tunnel only minutes before the block dropped, the freak accident freaked us out.

The flight to Amsterdam was a quick seven hours. I sat next to an extremely interesting and inspiring gentleman named Keith Snow. Keith is an independent investigative reporter who has been traveling, photographing and writing in the Congo and Afghanistan for the past year or so. I read his newsletter and we talked awhile about truth in media and our goals in life. He passed along his website, which I’ve yet to delve into, but intend to.

I’d called Donna (the lady watching over my van parked in front of her place) before leaving on Tuesday. “Oh; it’s fine. Just sitting out there in the street!” she had said. When I arrived at her house on Wednesday, my VW Bus was nowhere to be seen. After a knock on her open door and a hollohello, I hiked up her spiral stairs with my extra baggage. Since I was moving into the van, I was carrying more this time. Among other things I brought some sheets, books and a half gallon jug of peanut butter.

“Hi Donna. Where’s my van at?”

“Its right out front!” she replied.

“Um..no it’s not?” I said wondering if I forgot what color it was.

“Weeellll..it should be!” she said doubting me.

“Hmm…well it’s not!” I said expecting something troubling.

“Oh! That’s right; we put it in storage before we left for vacation! We weren’t going to be here for eleven days, so we didn’t want to just leave it in the street!”

“Oh. Ok. Thanks,” I said being mostly relived.

I was satisfied she took the initiative to move my van into storage, yet somehow I was concerned that the lady holding title to my automobile and responsible for my insurance had not only forgotten where it was but told me initially it would be safe in the street and was now suggesting it wouldn’t have been a good idea!

“Did you get my insurance card?”

“I don’t know. Did you get insurance yet?”

She doesn’t know…hmm…she assured me it would be in by the time I got back.

“Yes Donna. Remember I paid you some hundreds of dollars and sat around your house a few hours while we called for coverage so I could drive the van to get an inspection certificate?”

“Oh yes, then it should be here!”

I waited while Donna fed her grandkids, son, wife and some other man pancakes which she cooked one by one on a small frying pan. The older kid played on his handheld Playstation, the younger one played with two large hyper dogs, dad talked with the other man about the ultimate fighting competitions he was in and his upcoming surgery and mom smoked cigarettes, watched everything and said nothing. Donna was the life of the breakfast party. She cracked and laughed at her own jokes about the Dutch, ate and drank some cups of coffee then finally she rummaged through her scrooge-like piles of paperwork in search of my insurance card.

“It’s not here! They must not have sent it! I don’t normally lose things,” she said sounding helpless and looking to me for a resolution.

“Ok. Can you call them then? I can go pick a copy up,” I said hoping for a way towards freedom.

I don’t speak Dutch, but I could tell the people on the phone assured Donna it was sent to her. However she got them to agree to reprint one so I could go pick it up. I was getting my bags back on when she started to sort through some mail.

“Oh what’s this doing here? This could be it!” she said. “Yes here’s your insurance! Hah. How funny? It was here along! I don’t know why it was sitting there!”

“Hmm. Oh wow. Yea neither do I,” I said. “Great. Thanks. I guess I’m off then!”

“Ok. Don’t get any tickets! Drive slow!”

“No problem! Take care Donna.”

And I was off. On the road finally. I went two blocks, out of sight and mind from Donnas place and parked the van in some shade. I’d slept about three hours on the overnight flight, so it was a good time for a nap.

One Thought on “Close Calls: Part 1 of 3”

  1. Suzy Says:

    Interesting Character — Donna… C’est La Vie type of girl.

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